Communication as a couple: The secret of a good relationship
Communication is the essential glue in any relationship. It allows the couple to stabilize so that both partners can feel good together. Why? Because it creates a space where you can express yourself in total security and feel listened to. You feel good together because you feel accepted and respected.
What is good communication?
When you communicate well, you’re able to express your feelings, opinions, tastes, preferences, and desires without being scared of your partner’s reaction. And you’re also able to listen to your partner. Sometimes communication is easy. Other times, it’s more complicated. The essential thing is to remain open to the other person’s opinions and feelings and express your own, respectfully.
Nonviolent communication for problem solving
It’s normal to have disagreements and conflicts in a relationship from time to time. And when we feel disappointed, hurt, or angry, it’s very hard to talk things over calmly! To solve problems, nonviolent communication can help you express yourself without hurting the other person. Here are some tips to engage in healthy communication:
Set an example
It’s not always easy to talk about our emotions! We might be afraid of feeling judged, or looking ridiculous… That’s normal: we’re placed in a vulnerable position. But if we don’t talk, problems can become even more serious. Silence can be interpreted as a sign of indifference or lack of interest, leading to misunderstandings.
By taking the initiative to start the discussion, you prove that the relationship is important to you, and you lead the way to better communication.
Start by talking about a fact
Talk about a fact or an event that anyone could have observed. For example, you might say, “You went to the movies with your friends when you’d told me we could spend the evening together,” instead of “You didn’t really want to see me” or “Your friends are more important to you than I am.”
Speak using “I”
By talking about yourself, you avoid accusing the other person and then seeing him/her withdraw. Instead of saying, for example, “You’re always with your friends!” you could say “I’m disappointed that we can’t see each other more often.”
Talk about yourself and your own emotions
Use “I” and talk about what you yourself are experiencing. In that way, you avoid accusing the other person and causing him/her to close up. For example, you might say, “I’m disappointed when we don’t see each other” instead of “You let me down this weekend again!”
Choosing the right time
It’s crucial. We can get our ideas over much better when the other person is receptive! To discuss an awkward topic, choose a time when you’re alone and a quiet place where no one will disturb you. Be sure that it’s a good time, for example by asking if the other person is ready to talk.
Be clear with your whole self
We can read an incredible amount of information in people’s eyes. 🙄 😍 We can “listen to” their actions and looks, because they have a lot to say and can communicate many messages. So it’s essential for your body to send the same message as your words. If you say you like broccoli while making a disgusted face, there’s a good chance nobody will believe you! The same thing is true of feelings. If your gestures don’t reflect your words, the other person will know you’re not being sincere.
Listen so you can better express yourself.
When you’re talking to someone else, you can pay attention to their nonverbal language and also use what’s called “active listening”. 👂 After listening carefully to the other person, you can reformulate his/her words and ask questions to make sure you understood correctly. Then you can take your turn to talk and pay attention to how the other person responds. In that way, you show the person that you’re really listening and interested in what he/she has to say. It’s better to make sure you’ve understood correctly instead of trying to guess what the other person thinks! That’s the way to avoid misunderstandings.
When we talk and feel listened to, we also feel safe and supported by the other person. So good communication has a lot of benefits!
Explain why your need is important
Tell the other person the reasons why this need is important to you. For example, you might say, “I need to spend time with you” instead of “I need you to come and see me more often.”
Make a concrete, negotiable request
Make a suggestion that is both concrete and negotiable to find a solution that suits both of you. For example, you might suggest, “What would you think about getting together two evenings a week?” instead of “Stop spending so much time with your friends!”
When we talk about something that’s important to us, it’s not always easy to find the right words and the right tone. If you like, before talking to the other person, practise what you want to say aloud. When the discussion starts, it’ll be much easier to tell him/her what you feel.
Don’t try to guess how the other person will react. When you use nonviolent communication, you’ll probably get some nice surprises!